A street singer?
Abhijeet Sawant's claim to fame is winning the title of Indian Idol. But with another youngster taking over the crown, Abhijeet still has a long road ahead. What more will fortune throw up for the 24-year-old? Rupam Jain attempts an answer
Would you be in limelight had it not been for Indian Idol?
Singing has always been my passion and with help from uncle Sanjay, I was gradually moving towards my goal of becoming a playback singer. But it was a phase of struggle. I was singer in my uncle's orchestra. I even got an opportunity to playback in a feature film. But my excitement fizzled out once I learnt that my song had been left out. I was learning the harsh ways of life. I have called on many music directors for an opportunity. I even sang for Shankar Mahadevan on a Mumbai street unabashedly, simply to impress him. Around that time, Indian Idol happened and it gave me a platform to showcase my talent.
How has life changed after becoming a star?
Yesterday, even my birthday was not an event. Today every day is a celebration. After becoming Indian Idol, I am asked my opinion for the smallest of things. In my house decisions were taken without asking my opinion. Forget decisions, I was so irrelevant in the scheme of things that they did not even inform me about vital issues. Today, I earn well. Thus, it is quite natural that everybody at home is happy.
Your biggest sacrifice.
I miss being at home. You understand and realise the value of home and family only when you are away from them. But I am happy to have their support. I also miss my friends who have always stood by me in my most difficult times.
Your biggest regret after earning the title?
I had always wished to taste success and who does not. So, I have no regrets as such. The fact that I don't have much time for myself now is somewhat of a regret. I love cricket. After becoming the Indian Idol, I once decided to play a match with my friends. Within half an hour, word got around and a huge crowd surrounded us and hemmed us in. We had to abandon the game.
Who has influenced you the most?
Sanjay uncle is a person who understood my craze for singing and he has always guided me all through. There is no room for laziness today (laughs). He helped me establish a career in the music world. I owe it all to him.
Do you think luck plays an important role in competitions?
Yes, it does play a significant role. I believe I have been very lucky. But luck alone does not lead you anywhere. Though I have been lucky, I don't want people to say "oh it was sheer luck". I have spoken about it in my autobiography Aapka Abhijeet. Luck, hard work, determination and your nature are companions.
Who was your greatest competitor in the show?
I always suffered from an inferiority complex. I saw many good singers with better chances than me. They were very confident. I only competed with myself.
If it were not you, who do you think deserved to be the Indian Idol?
Prajakta Shukre. She has a beautiful voice and a personality to complement. She also presented herself well and performed very well in all the rounds. Amit Sana, Rahul Vaidya are also good singers.
Who is your idol?
Besides uncle, my guruji Bhavdeep Jaipurwale and, of course, Sonu Nigam. I have always admired him as a singer and always wanted to sing like him.
How are you making it on your own?
I have sung for Aashiq Banaya Aapne and Jawani Diwani and am looking forward to more such assignments.
Your current projects.
I am working with Anuji. We are also going to release another album, Aapka Abhijeet in August. As a pop singer, I want to create an identity for myself.
Any girlfriends or marriage plans?
(Laughs) So far, no. As for marriage, a strict no-no for the next three or four years.